Roy Keane: We’ve been down this road before – As long as it’s not Saipan we’re okay!
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane hailed the Irish squad after qualifying for Euro 2016 and insisted the players will do the country proud next summer in France.
A 2-0 win over Bosnia secured Ireland’s passage to Euro 2016 with a 3-1 aggregate score line and believes the fighting spirit in Martin O’Neill’s side has been key to achieving their qualification goal.
“We hung in there with disappointments along the way, including Scotland. Players showed great fighting spirit,” he said.
“We’re always looking for a bit more quality and retaining the ball a little better, but I suppose that’s the history of Irish football.
“We’ve always found that difficult, but the fight and determination we showed out there tonight under lots of pressure. We hung in and credit to the players, they did the country proud.
“Without desire and hunger you are going to come up short. At least we have that. There’s parts of the game we’d like a bit more quality, but the players deserve massive credit.”
Jon Walters, who Keane managed during his time at Ipswich Town, was the goal scoring hero and the forward’s work ethic was singled out for special praise.
“His work rate is fantastic. He’s a great example to the other players. The fact he got the two goals is a great bonus for him.I know Jon is going to grab the headlines and rightly so, the hardest part of football is putting the ball in the back of the net and he’s done that, but he’s had the support behind.”
The Boys in Green will hope to banish the memories of a hugely disappointing campaign in Ukraine and Poland four years ago, with Keane critical of performances as thousands of Irish fans travelled to support their team, famously saying: “We’re no t here for the sing-song”.
The assistant manager says the players won’t be getting carried away and even referenced his highly controversial departure from the Ireland World Cup squad in 2002.
“We’ve been down this road before. As long as we’re not in Saipan we’re okay,” he joked.
“We’ll cross that bridge. Tonight is just about the players, to enjoy it. We’ll reflect on it over the next few days.
“We obviously don’t want to go over there just to make up the numbers. We’ll go over there to do the country proud.”